It was spectacular from the spectator’s point of view as you could see all three phases from the VIP tent. There were flat-screen TV’s with live scoring, breakfast, lunch and dinner served and waiters going around making sure everyone was looked after well. Because of this and the prize money the event attracted a lot of big-name horses and riders so I knew I had to take a couple of good horses if I wanted to be competitive, so I picked Pancho Villa and Trading Aces, who I thought would be best suited to this format.
Pancho has gone strength to strength; in the last month he’s really clicked into gear and was fabulous in all three phases, especially the cross-country. There were plenty of palm trees and Land Rovers to spook at but he stayed focused and jumped the course exactly on the optimum time, finishing in 7th place to take home $2,000 in prize money, to be shared amongst the members of his syndicate.
Trading Aces was of course the star of the show, and didn’t put a foot wrong as he led from wire to wire to win the event. He took home $15k which will also be shared amongst the members of his Syndicate. This is a great way to thank the owners that do so much for me.
Another $7500 was allocated to one two horse-related 501c3 charities of our choice. Since they were cheering us on at the event, I gave syndicate members Katie Walker and Gloria Callen the decision-making power to choose how to spend this money. Since many of the syndicate members are from the Unionville, PA and Millbrook, NY areas, they chose to donate the money to Plantation Field Horse Trials and Millbrook Horse Trials. I think this is a great way to give back to the sport of eventing and support a couple of fantastic competitions.
It was a great experience competing in Wellington – it’s one of the biggest crowds I’ve ridden in front of and a real privilege to showcase the sport down there with lots of interested horse enthusiasts based in Wellington stopping by to check it out. I think it was a great success and we’ll see it go from strength to strength in the future.